Optimal Firm Behavior with Consumer Social Image Concerns and Asymmetric Information

Alexander Sebald*, Nick Vikander

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper explores how consumers’ belief-dependent social image concerns can affect firm strategic choices in a product market setting. We consider a theoretical framework with incomplete information where a profit-maximizing monopolist sets a price for its product, taking into account that consumers care about the belief that others hold about the product’s popularity. Throughout our analysis, we highlight the close connection between our dynamic psychological game and the literature on network effects. We show in particular that belief-dependent social image concerns generate equilibrium price distortions that do not arise in a network effect setting, and we explore the implications for consumer demand and firm profits.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Pages (from-to)311-330
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

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